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September 19, 2009

Volleyball Collects First Conference Win Against Weber State

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona volleyball picked up its first Big Sky Conference win of the season with a 3-1 victory over Weber State on Saturday night at the Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks defeated the Wildcats by scores of 25-13, 21-25, 25-21, and 25-22.

“We worked hard and I think it really shows,” said freshman outside hitter Lauren Campbell. “[This win] feels awesome.”

NAU (4-7, 1-1 BSC) dominated play in the first set with a .500 hitting percentage, the highest mark on the year. The Lumberjacks kept an early lead and cruised to a 25-13 finish in that first set.

Weber State (1-11, 0-2 BSC) battled back in the second set evening the match at one set a piece. Behind Campbell and Kelli Dallman’s 28 combined kills, the Lumberjacks outlasted Weber State in the third set and ended the match in the fourth with a come-from-behind match-clinching rally.

“I think we really needed this win to boost our confidence and get us going for the rest of conference,” said sophomore middle blocker Katie Bailey.

Bailey totaled a match-high 10 blocks and the NAU defense stepped up at pivotal times throughout the match. Freshmen Anna Gott and Lexie Schroeder combined for 28 of NAU’s 51 digs on the night and kept rallies alive when facing the hard hitting of Weber State’s Chelsea Bair and Bethany Wray.

“We worked on it a lot this week and it helped,” said Bailey of the defensive emphasis in practice this week. “We felt more confident going in.”

Saturday’s win was even more impressive considering the Lumberjacks were without star outside hitter Lexi Sullivan who will miss the remainder of the season after a knee injury on Thursday night in a 3-1 loss to Idaho State. Also, Chelsea Cheeley missed a majority of the third set and the entire fourth set after leaving the match with an ankle injury.

NAU was able to remain poised despite the absence of starters Sullivan and Cheeley who have been important players for the Lumberjacks in 2009.

“They are definitely two of our leaders, but we can rely on other people to step up and play their game,” said Campbell. “I think everybody did that tonight and it shows we can come together and play through adversity.”

The Lumberjacks next match will be at Sacramento State at 7 p.m. on Thursday Sept. 24. NAU’s next home match is the following week against Northern Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center.